LETTER to OGYAM

LENNOX ASSAN


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LETTER TO OGYAM; …..THIS IS WHY I’M ANGRY

A tailor who delivers on time. A Twi newscaster who pronounces MOBILE INTEROPERABILITY with the speed of light. A so-called “man of God” who preaches in trotro without flooding our brows with saliva. These are the little pleasures of life we seek Ogyam. Have we asked for something difficult? No sir. But where lies the pleasure in life when you are a full time Ghanaian? Even the hardworking ones like me don’t find it easy so what lies the fate of the lazy ones. I’m not lazy Ogyam, I wake up every morning as early as 4am to switch off my alarm clock then go back to sleep, and when it’s 6.30am, I get up and prepare for work. The discontentment that comes with it, the absurdities attached to it and the farcicality of the phrase “God is a Ghanaian” makes me nauseous. Be honest Ogyam, sometimes you become too tired of being a Ghanaian. Anaa meboa?

Why am I angry? Well, a lot of reasons. Funerals Ogyam, funerals. I attended one over the weekend. The atmosphere was poignant and melancholic. The deceased was a friend of mine, a drunk taxi driver knocked the life out a 24-year-old lady and sped off. You should have seen her mother Ogyam, the tears that run down her cheeks into her tear-soaked dress were different from the one she welcomed her baby girl some 24 years ago with. She could have said a lot, but at that period, you could tell her tears were the words her heart couldn’t utter, and as she sat through the funeral proceedings, the memories of her daughter were sneaking out of her eyes and rolling down her cheeks. Pray Ogyam, may our parents never bury us. But tell me, why are funeral proceedings held in local language but tributes are read in English. And to think that one fella plagiarized the tribute he read irked me. “Some broken hearts never mend, some memories never end, some tears never dry, our love for you never dies”, he read proudly without crediting and referencing his source. Whoooo, yo, that’s a line from Don Williams. Opana thought he was the only one at the funeral grounds who listens to country music. Oh here’s what’s making me angry, the runaway driver is yet to be found.

Why am I angry? Well, a lot of reasons. Time Ogyam, time. I spent more than 6 hours at the DVLA, GCB bank and the Ghana Revenue Authority combined. All businesses within these three entities weren’t expected to exceed an hour and half even if you factor in the distances among them. And if you know Tarkwa well, you’ll agree that GCB bank is just a stone throw away from the GRA. It wasn’t even with the long queues; I’m used to queues. Some years back in Cape Coast, I joined a long queue inside the then Ghana Commercial Bank just to withdraw fifty cedis. That was the time mobile money wasn’t a thing and my ATM card had expired. From the bank, I joined another long queue to buy credit for my prepaid meter. Once I had been served, I had to join another long queue to buy waakye to cap the day off. See, endurance, is my middle name. However, what happened at the bank, DVLA and GRA made me question my ability to bear prolonged exertion. Tell me Ogyam, what do these guys really mean when they say “network is down”, thus their ability to execute their task to perfection is being hampered. To say I was frustrated is only disdainfully mocking, pure understatement.

Why am I angry? Well, a lot of reasons. Precision Ogyam, precision. The passport office said your passport will be ready in two weeks, that was five months ago you’re still waiting for it. The repairer said your TV will be ready in two days, stop going there every week. Your debtor said your money will be ready at the end of the month but you see, your ways aren’t his ways, your 30 days is his 30 minutes, relax. I know what you’re thinking, the fact that I promised to send you this letter in September doesn’t mean I’m part of the people I’m reproaching. One more thing Ogyam, have you realized we are never specific even with time. “Hey Kwaku, what time should we visit Fafa”? Kwaku will look at you strangely and answer, “Let’s go around 5pm”. The problem here is, 4.30pm is around 5pm. 5.15pm is around 5pm. Even 5.59pm is around 5pm. Ask a brother when an event he’s organizing or a party he’s throwing will start and he will tell you ‘’around 7 – 7.30pm there’’. Nkwaseasem. Every Ghanaian is guilty concerning this crime, even the ones complaining and criticizing most are more culpable. Our lives are akin to the proverbial bird in Akan folklore who muddies the river at its north end then fly southwards to enquire why the river is dirty.

You can’t be an optimist and hope to survive in this town we call Ghana (that in itself makes you an optimist though). At every turn, you must be prepared that the worst will happen. Expect the programme to start late. Expect your business partner not to show up in time. Expect they will run out of drinking water at the wedding (it happened) and expect Jesus not to show up to turn water into wine should you run out of that too. Expect ECG to do their thing whiles it rains. Expect the seatbelt in the taxi to be faulty. Expect your employer to pay your salary late. Expect the government not to honor their campaign promise. But whiles you’re at it, be sure not to settle for less, do not applaud mediocrity.

It is for these and many other reasons I prayed to God to grant me patience and mercy to help me deal with the struggles and toils of being a Ghanaian. Two days ago, I met a newly posted national service personnel in town, a lady by name Patience Asante. And I’m told the new mobile money vendor in my neighborhood is called Mercy. You see what lack of clarity can do? So I went down on my knees and prayed to God once again, “Yehowa, when I asked for patience and mercy, I wasn’t referring to the daughters of Eve. I need to cultivate the ability to endure waiting, and I seek your compassion and kindness to live in this dreaded land”. However, Onyankopɔn in his infinite wisdom grants us more than our hearts desire in his own appointed time. If you know, you know.
Being a Ghanaian isn’t that simple. This is why I’m angry

HASTA LA VISTA

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LETTER TO OGYAM; …..ANOTHER LEGACY OF ROME

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Here is a fun fact for you Ogyam, Crepitus, he was the Roman god of toilet and flatulence. I understand Apollo was the god of music and medicine, he could have come handy for our underground rappers. Venus was the goddess of love, that would have come well for our crushes and brothers in the friend zone (the Greeks referred to her as Aphrodite). But Crepitus, the god of toilet and flatulence? Well, that god is the only one you could boldly say was full shit with no blot of blasphemy. Imagine the awkwardness as you walk silently to his temple to address your grievances regarding constipation.

Stories from ancient Roman civilization are always fascinating and endearing. And it will surprise you to know, that some incidences that took place in the Roman empire gave in to quite a number of phrases and idiomatic expressions we find in the English language today. He’s a few of which can be realted;

HANNIBAL HAS CROSSED THE ALPS. When an extreme or intense calamity looms whereby little or nothing can be done to avert it, this phrase is usually used to describe such a misfortune.

ORIGIN. At the heights of its might, the Roman empire had undoubtedly made many enemies but none was as fearless as the Carthaginian forces led by Hannibal Barca. It was he who handed the Roman army its most humiliating rout at the battle of Cannae. History records the Roman death toll as no less than six thousand. This in no doubt weakened the Roman army……at least for a while. Such was Hannibal’s passionate derision towards the Roman empire that he made the daring attempt to attack the city of Rome itself. To avoid the Roman’s fortified structures of defense, he made the audacious move of passing through the Alps with thousands of soldiers and horses as well as about fifty elephants. Notwithstanding the fact that it was a costly effort, he arrived at the Italian plains with most of his men. Although Hannibal was defeated by Scipio Africanus at the battle of Zama, Hannibal’s pursuit of Roman subjugation and conquest is legendary.

CROSSING THE RUBICON. When a decision is made, whereby the said decision is impossible to revoke, it is then stated that the one who made such decision has crossed the Rubicon. An irrevocable and portentous choice.

ORIGIN. The Rubicon was a river which served as a traditional boundary of the city of Rome. It was impermissible for a general to bring his army to Rome through the Rubicon. Caesar’s action of crossing the Rubicon with the 13th Legion precipitated the Roman civil war between him and Pompey. Had Caesar lost, it would have had dire consequences for him, since his crossing of the Rubicon was deemed a treasonable offence.

NERO FIDDLED WHILE ROME BURNED. When a leader involves himself with trivial issues whereas desperate and more important matters of concern are relegated to the background.

ORIGIN. The last of the Julian dynasty of emperors in the Roman empire was Nero Claudius Caesar. It was during his time the Great Fire of Rome occurred. Of the 14 districts of Rome, 3 were completely burnt. The rumours were that whiles the fire kept raging on, the emperor Nero was seen standing on top of his palace roof unconcerned, wearing a stage costume and singing.

NOT WORTH THE SALT. To be worth one’s salt shows competence and proficiency, and for that reason, you deserve what you are earning.

ORIGIN. In ancient Greek and Roman times, a soldier’s pay which consisted in part salt came to be known as salarium argentum, from which the word “salary” was derived. A soldier’s salary was cut if he was “not worth the salt”. A phrase that came into being for the reason that Greeks and Romans habitually bought slaves with salt.

Monty Python asked, “Apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order………..what have the Romans done for us?”. I may have an answer for that – they gave us a collection of fixed distinctive expressions whose meaning cannot be deduced from the combined meaning of it actual words. That’s another legacy of Rome.

HASTA LA VISTA


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LETTER TO OGYAM; …..THE DEVIL CAME TO TOWN

devil

The devil came to town Ogyam. As a matter of fact, the devil is still in town. Let me tell you his mission. It’s simple. There’s an auditing department in the devil’s office where reports of his deeds are sampled to ascertain and verify their authenticity to their claims. You know, not every deed said to be the work of the devil turns out to be true. Lately, the department seems to be in quite a bit of commotion and disarray and this in itself worries the devil. Too many deeds are being reported to be caused by the devil. However, whenever stock taking is done Ogyam, things don’t add up. I mean, receipts of claims of his works don’t add up with his actual exploits. Of course the devil wouldn’t push away the idea of taking credits for what he hasn’t done, he will welcome such move. Interestingly, it seems someone is outplaying him at his own game and the devil doesn’t like competition, anaa meboa. From wherever he was, Opana has been receiving news of his being a leading hand in various evil machinations of the sons of men. Phrases like “I’m sorry, it was the work of the devil” and “the devil pushed me to do it” were clichés that were giving him headaches, well, that is, if he had a head. Corruption, road accidents, infidelity, adultery, bribery, robbery, theft, masochism, misogyny, paedophilia – culprits of these deeds, when apprehended point accusing finger at him as their handler. So the devil took it upon himself to investigate, he went to heaven, and asked for the angels’ registry. From the records it appeared he was the only one who has stood up against the authority of Oga himself, and that even didn’t end well since he was hurled down alongside his minions. But at that instance it occurred to him, maybe it is one of his demon cronies who is hogging up all these schemes and manoeuvres, probably to attempt a coup, an act he’s familiar with. And so, he begun scrutinizing his cohorts, to find the culprit(s), give him the Jordan Peterson betrayal speech and then fire him/them. You can take that part literally. Well, the good news for him was that none of his agents was trying to outdo him. The bad news was that there was someone out there trying to outdo him.

He then decided to pay humans a visit, to see things for himself as we usually say, “perhaps my agents have been exaggerating the reports” he thought to himself. And that, my brother, is the reason why the devil came to town. He visited workplaces and offices, corruption, maladministration, deliberate inefficiency and misdemeanours flourished. He saw strife, bitterness, anger and contentions at homes. Guess what, he visited churches, a place he called home, lies, extortion, insincerity and hypocrisy were plentiful. At that instance he realised humans are making his work easier but he feared the actions of men will render him redundant. Yes, a time will come we wouldn’t need the devil anymore. Hold on, who even needs the devil when we are our own enemies. Who needs the devil when our fellow man can put him out of business by the words we say, the things we do, and the thoughts we harbour within. This is why the devil came to town

HASTA LA VISTA


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LETTER TO OGYAM; …..THE COUNSELOR

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I never told you this my friend but I’ve redirected to a new career path. Counseling. No. I didn’t do it for the money. This decision was purely out of the intense fervor and enthusiasm to help those who think they’re in love or at the crossroads. Ogyam, you know love, right? That stupid thing your heart does when it won’t listen to your brain yelling at it to shut up. Hard that it may seem to you to believe, my counsel and advise has helped a great number of people who found themselves in a decisive moment at a time when some important decisions had to be made. Here, take a read at a few ones I handpicked. Probably you may find yourself in one or more of such situations and trust me you have my timeless advise available. You are welcome.

Dear LA. We’ve been together for four years and planning to marry in the next three years. I know my man very well so I can tell when he’s telling the truth or not. A fortnight ago, we went out and when we were returning, we bought a pack of condom. This particular pack contains five pieces in it. We’ve used two already but strangely I visited him yesterday and found out there’s just one left. I enquired him about the missing two and he claims about three days ago, he was feeling bored at home so he blew air in them as balloons and hung them in his room. He later burst them. He did all these just to kill off the boredom, he says. For once in our relationship, I can’t tell if he’s telling the truth or lying to me? Did he really blow air in them as balloons or he’s used it with another girl(s)?

Pokuaa. Sunyani.

Hi Pokuaa, first of all I want you to know that your boyfriend and I aren’t roommates. Secondly, according to a study conducted by a certain unaccredited University, men have the tendency of blowing air into condoms to pass time, kill boredom or to fight dizziness. Seriously, what were you expecting him to do in his state of boredom? Call friends and play FIFA18 or CALL OF DUTY? Nah, he’s too old for that. Some guys even blow air in all, you are fortunate he left one condom for you. Such guys are keepers, stick to him. Cheers.

 

Hello LA. My husband and I have been enjoying our marriage all these ten years until a new lady showed up next door. Well in all truth she is finer than I. Her hair, skin tone, height is all I wanted to have. Lately, I’m suspecting she and my husband are developing an emotional bond based on several mutual interests. He even likes and laughs heartily at her jokes, most of these jokes he’s heard from me already that he didn’t even giggle. When I’m with him, he takes to breathe but in her company, he takes more than that. She literally takes his breathe away. What should I do.

Akosua. Madina.

 

Hello Akos. You started by saying you and your husband have been enjoying ten years of marriage. Look here, I think you should speak for yourself. In my short experience as a counsellor, no man in his sobriety will enjoy ten straight years of happy marriage. No man. With that aside, I think your marriage is heading towards a cliff. With regards to this new girl in your neighbourhood, today she’s taking his breathe away, you don’t know what she might be taking away tomorrow. I suggest you also take something of hers away to save your marriage…her life, perhaps. You remind me of one of Dolly Parton’s songs – Jolene. Check the lyrics and take notes. Ciao.

 

Good day LA. I met this girl in secondary school, she was in Yaa Asantewaa Girls and I was in Prempeh College. LA, can you believe it was until we both entered university did I realise I didn’t know her at all? In fact, there is nothing feminine about her. She doesn’t know how to cook, she doesn’t gossip with her friends, she doesn’t even have friends, she has never been to a salon, she likes her hair trimmed. She isn’t a fan of Beyonce, nor Adele nor Taylor Swift (seriously, which girl on earth isn’t a fan of any of these). She doesn’t like telenovelas, her favourite movies are horror movies. The only feminine thing about her is…U know what I mean. I’m worried she will turn out to beat me one day. I’m leaving her. How do I leave her without any complications?

Wisdom. Atlantic hall, UCC.

 

Hmmm. Wisdom. Prempeh College and Atlantic Hall eh, such a toxic mix. Why am I not surprised? By the way, your name, Wisdom, is it a nickname given to you by your peers or it was given to you at birth by your parents. If it’s the former, then I applaud them for their high sense of sarcasm. But if it was given to you at birth, then I’m guessing you parents, wherever they are, are reeking in the disappointments of you not living up to your name. Where on God’s earth did you find the codified records of feminism. That she can’t cook? Really. There are countless recipes to various kinds of foods on the internet by the way. But let’s cut it here, since you’ve made up your mind to leave, I guess the best way to do so without any complications as you stated, is to send her a text, outlining all your disappointments with her, once that is done, remove the sim card and destroy it. She can never get back to you again. All the best

 

LA. I’m planning for my wedding next month, a very posh one. I’m making arrangements for seven bridesmaids and seven best men. Can you help me find the best event planners in the country? My budget for the whole wedding is two thousand cedis. (Gh¢ 2000.00)

Nana, Berekum.

 

Hello Nana, if you had asked for the best event planners in town, that is Berekum, I would have given you a quick recommendation. However, the best in the country? Well that’s a long shot I must say. And is that your budget for the photography? Oh I read that wrongly, you mean the whole event. Ok. I’m planning on a thirty-day holiday trip to Bora Bora with just seven hundred and fifty cedis, I’ll do well to help out when I return. Best of regards.

 

Good day LA. I’m in a situation with unsatisfactory choices to make. I caught my boyfriend cheating not just twice nor thrice but five times. Last week, I caught him for the sixth time. All this in less than six months. I’ve had enough and I’m leaving. But my problem is how to leave. Should I tell him via text or must I point it right in his face.

Afua. Takoradi

 

Hi Afua, I don’t know about you women but when a guy is caught cheating in a relationship, he goes through a lot of trauma, anxiety and an extremely distressing emotional shock. I’m sorry you gotten it wrong. This is not the time to leave. This is the moment you need to stick closer to him. At this point, I can tell you he is on the verge of committing suicide. Draw close to him, comfort him, be his succor. Let him know you will always be there for him. “Darling I’m sorry for catching you for the sixth time. I promise it won’t happen again. Ever”.

 

I’m always at your service buddy. call me when the need be. I’m the couselor

 

HASTA LA VISTA


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LETTER TO OGYAM; …..LIEBSTER AWARD

liebster award

One person I always look up her blog is “pressure queen” Desaha, she terms that as stalking but you see let’s all ignore the semantic. Maybe that’s the name given to someone who breathes on your neck to write. She’s among the top bloggers I discovered this year and you can check her blog here. She’s a big girl. I visited her blog today and as it turned out, she’s nominated me for the LIEBSTER AWARD. Girl, much thanks to you for this nomination. I appreciate.

The purpose of the award is to uncover bloggers, “connect and support the blogging community”. It also helps in providing a bigger platform for your blog and other bloggers.

Rules of The Liebster Award:

  1. Create a new blog with the graphic of the ward thanking the person that nominated you, link to their blog.
  2. Create a set of questions for your nominees to answer.
  3. Nominate 10 bloggers and share your blog post with them so they can accept their awards.

Aim and Objectives Liebster Award:

“The Liebster Award is a blogger award for new bloggers and those with few or small followers. It’s an amazing way of giving new bloggers an opportunity to gain some recognition and encouragement for their hard works”.

DESAHA’S QUESTIONS AND MY RESPONSE

1. DO YOU GOOGLE YOURSELF TO SEE IF YOUR BLOG WOULD COME UP?

Sometimes. Especially when I haven’t written or posted anything in a long time.

2. WHAT MADE YOU START BLOGGING?

Was enthused by the works of two people; veteran journalist George Sydney Abugri, whom I started reading his columns in the Daily Graphic when I was in JSS, Letter to Jomo and Kofi Yankey, who introduced me to his works during our time at the University of Cape Coast.

 

3. HOW DO YOU MOTIVATE YOURSELF TO KEEP YOUR BLOG UP AND RUNNING?

I posted my first article in March 2014, and since then, I’ve thrown a challenge to myself to write every month. The motivation comes in when I’m nearing the end of a month and there’s no article written. At that moment, I realize I’m on the verge of committing a “crime” or “sin”, perhaps it has been done already, thus cleansing needs to be done.

4. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY THAT IS THE GREATEST SATISFACTION OF BEING A BLOGGER?

When people other than yourself keep reminding you to write and post something when you haven’t done that in a while. It brings a sense of urgency within and an appreciative feeling that one’s work is being welcomed.

5. HOW DO YOU DECIDE ON WHAT BLOG TO FOLLOW?

I give priority to blogs whose theme and subject matter meet my interests; Satire, Fiction, Tech, Entrepreneurship, etc.

 

I AM HEREBY NOMINATING THE FOLLOWING BLOGGERS TO FOLLOW UP WITH THEIRS;

JOSEPHINE AMOAKO – JOSEYPHINA’S WORLD

KWAKU GYAMFI – WRITINGS OF THE BEAUTIFUL ONE

ABOKI CLEDRE – TALES FROM MADINA

SELASI KOMLA ADJOR – SELA’S LINES AND STANZAS

LIGRI NABA – PLAIN TALK FOR PLAIN PEOPLE

INSPIRED GRISELE

 

BELOW ARE THE QUESTIONS I HAVE FOR MY NOMINEES;

  1. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN BLOGGING?
  2. HAVE YOU FACED ANY DIFFICULTIES IN YOUR BLOGGING LIFE?
  3. HOW OFTEN DO YOU POST ARTICLES ON YOUR BLOG?
  4. HAVE YOU BEEN IMPACTED POSITIVELY BY ANY BLOG/BLOGGER?
  5. WHICH DO YOU ENJOY DOING MOST – READING OR BLOGGING?

 

10 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME

  1. I always end my articles with the Spanish phrase HASTA LA VISTA (See You Later)
  2. I pick the titles of my articles from the last sentence in that article.
  3. My all time favorite movie is TROY. Directed by Wolfgang Petersen.
  4. Although I’m a Christian, I believe the whole concept of hellfire is misconstrued and overrated.
  5. I had my basic education in the Western Region, secondary education in the Ashanti Region and tertiary education in the Central Region.
  6. Of the 10 regions in Ghana, I’ve been to 7. Hoping to complete all 10 soon.
  7. I don’t have a favorite food.
  8. I have read 5 of Shakespeare’s works but completed only 1 – Julius Caesar
  9. I prefer African authors to foreign authors. More priority to Nigerian authors
  10. I’ve seen all I’ve written but haven’t written all I have seen

Thanks for the Liebster Award

HASTA LA VISTA

 


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LETTER TO OGYAM; …..GROWING UP IS A SIN


My stomach seems to be widening at a geometric rate Ogyam. Silly though, peeps in this town think it’s a sign of affluence – charley your money dey come o, see your bɛllɛ sef – such a gibe. Meanwhile they’ve forgotten to tell us to watch our health, it’s always about money with them, no be so? About two decades ago, I wouldn’t have cared much about the size of my belly. Perhaps such apprehensions are all part of the growing up process.

Growing up can be tense and stressful. Aside the anxieties and trepidations of your health, you also have bills to pay, invitations to honour – weddings, funerals, graduations. Once you’ve grown up, you and your friends don’t even get time to talk about your neighbours’ wives anymore – who cooks bad, whose dressing is top notch and whose wig is older. The tables have turned, our neighbours’ wives now talk about us – they ask when we are going to leave our parents’ home, they discuss why we aren’t married yet, and they debate who is more beautiful, the girl you brought home yesterday or the one you just escorted from your house this evening. And they pretend not to see us when we bypass them in the neighbourhood but wouldn’t spare us a second to ask about our parent’s health and send regards when they see us thousands of kilometres away in the company of a member of the opposite sex.

There were those days your interest in daily national matters and current affairs were for academic purposes. You knew all the ministers of state and their deputies, all heads of government agencies, all the names and capitals of the districts in Ghana. But suddenly, you’ve grown up, and since you are a pupil teacher, all you care about is who the president names as the minister for education and minister for finance.

Although you may have money and lots of it, you’ll realise that the most essential currency needed most is time – once spent, it can never be regained. And so you put in all effort to make good use of every second of it, time with family, time with friends, time with co-workers and most importantly, time with yourself.

And then there is love. Once grown up, you realise love goes more than a tender feeling of affection for somebody. It is a very expansive field which involves guarantees, pledges, dedications and devotion. Love means being there for that person when things go wrong. It involves adjusting and making concessions. You realise the love when you finally get to a point of comprehending that life is about helping each other and not just about you. But sometimes love itself becomes strange, for as you keep growing, you learn to let some things or people go, just to prove how much you love them. In the words of Dela “we are radiant. You the moon, I the sun. but should we dare embrace, it’d be darkness. Not the binding brilliance we wished for”.

At a particular stage in the growing up process, you become aware of the social construct in which you are born into and you spend the early stages of your life defending what it represents – name, ethnicity, religion and so you ask yourself, “does the meaning of my name reflect the life I live”? “Am I part of this religious organisation because of my parents”? “Does my religious organisation give me answers to the questions I seek about some of the elements of life or I’m only following blindly”. “Does the career path I’ve chosen suit me, or it’s just to make ends meet”? “How far do I have to go in terms of my education”?

As you grow up, you strive for maturity to be at a parallel, for growing up doesn’t necessitate maturity, just as white teeth isn’t a guarantee against bad breathe. But in maturity, you come to the apprehension of how some of the most important words in life have been sapped with little energy and drive in them due to misuse, abuse and exaggeration – friends (who really are they), love (what does it mean), success (what does it entail), loyalty (will it be given without seeking anything in return). Nonetheless, we know that of all the billions of humans on earth, just a handful are poets who are assigned with dignifying the veracity of words and shielding it with an outright accuracy of emotions. Therefore, for most of us, we create strife among ourselves while we see each other as friends, we hate while we claim to love, we fail while we seem to be succeeding and we betray each other while we claim to be loyal.

On a lighter side, you come to a full consciousness that typing “amen” and sharing that “message” isn’t going to give you a mansion or a car overnight. Neither will you die should you refuse to forward it to twenty people on your contact list.

You also realise, upon growing up, that daddy never finishes all the meat served in his soup, it is always returned, well most of it.

It is when you are grown up and gone broke do you realise it isn’t compulsory, in fact, it’s not even necessary to eat three times in a day. And to whichever dietician or nutritionist who brought up the biggest scam in the history of mankind – breakfast, lunch and supper, including the deluded idea of brunch – shame on you.

Adulthood washed away all the innocence in us, we can’t even bath together with our neighbours’ daughters again Ogyam, anaa meboa?

The whole concept of growing up is overrated Ogyam. What happened to the yesteryears of doing things blithe. Don’t grow up I warn you, growing up isn’t a crime, but I tell you, growing up is a sin.

                                  HASTA LA VISTA


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LETTER TO OGYAM; …..LET THE MUSIC PLAY ON

It’s almost 11pm Ogyam, I’ve been sitting in this 15-seater Benz bus bound for Tarkwa. We’re just five people in the vehicle, four females and I, waiting for it to hit its fullest capacity or perhaps half of it then we set off. It’s been almost 20 minutes since I entered the vehicle as the last person and there is no sign it will be full anytime soon. Usually, vehicles plying the Tarkwa – Takoradi route don’t take much time to become full but it seems there’s something not so right today. To add to my frustration, a peddler, whom at the look of his face I can tell is a sexagenarian has just come to stand at the door of the vehicle. Guess what he’s selling Ogyam – penis enlargement drugs, remedies for premature ejaculation, sexual impotence, you know, and other associated stuffs. Goodness, at this hour? What I don’t understand is why, as he rants about the potency of his drugs, his eyes are directed at me and me alone whiles we are five people in here, as if he knows something about me of which I myself might be oblivious. Like many people, I’m not a fan of peddlers at the numerous lorry stations and so I’m compelling myself to put it forth before him of his noise making antics. But then, the imp in me says I should shut up, since the other fraction of the human race who are with me in the vehicle might see it as an admission of my guilt and divulgence to the infirmities he claims to possess its remedies. Here, the proverbial old woman who feels uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a proverb comes to mind. And so, I mute and endure his rackets.

What comes to my rescue however, is the driver, as he switches on his tape to play some music. He treats us to some good old soul and country music from the eighties and nineties. At that moment onwards, the music keeps playing on, from James Brown’s hits, through to Aretha Franklin, Lionel Richie, Don Williams makes a brief appearance on the playlist too and straight away, my vexation towards the peddler has sunk to a nadir. Music heals. I always wonder Ogyam, which is the food for the soul, a good music or a good book?

Sometimes, I think one’s fondness for a kind of music is determined by the circumstance under which he/she is exposed to that music. When growing up as a kid, one thing my father used to do was to turn up the volume of his stereo whiles lashing me for some wrong doing. By so doing, the neighbours wouldn’t hear my screams for help and old boy always had his way with it. The first time I heard Yvonne Chaka Chaka’s celebrated song – Umqombothi – I had been locked up in the slaughter house, that’s the name I gave to the visitors’ room where whipping went on, and receiving countless lashes for riding bicycle in town during class hours. Old Mama Yvonne’s voice was blaring out loud from the speakers and my call for help was soaked in her melodious voice which was at its crescendo. The lyrics stuck like glue, “I work hard every day to make my beer. Wake up early every morning to please my people with African beer”, trust me Ogyam, what I was receiving at that moment was far from an African beer. And since then until a time thereon, I always held some reservations about that song Umqombothi.

I always thought Captain Planet’s OBI AGYE OBI GIRL made no sense until one of these galamsey boys in Prestea gave me a lift in his newly acquired Lexus SUV. To call it a car will be an attack on the vehicle’s reputation. From the moment I sat in, with seatbelt strapped on and the air condition fully functioning, the song started playing and at that instant everything about it seemed accurate and spot-on – the lyrics, the tempo, the sound engineer’s choice of musical instruments, etc etc were all on point, even Captain Planet’s rap or whatever he was trying to do made sense. I instantly pegged him alongside rap greats like Obrafour, Sarkodie, Kwaw Kese and Okyeame Kwame. May the rap gods forgive me. You may find yourself in one of these rickety taxis plying the Huni Valley – Wassa Damang route and on that rough road, amid dust from the road, foggy weather condition and smoke from the wayside palm oil makers’ hut, not forgetting the bumpy nature of the road, the London symphony orchestra’s version of Vangelis’ Chariots of Fire might be playing in the car. But in your condition, that celebrated tune might appear to be coming from the camp of Vic O. (no disrespect to Vic O, I’m a huge fan).

But sometimes music can get you into trouble. There’s this boy I know whose stepmother used to castigate him due to his refusal to eat the dinners she served. One evening, a similar thing happened and this woman rebuked his stepson the morning thereafter. About an hour later, one could hear the boy playing Samuel Owusu’s KƆKƆSAKYI in his room. The hook of the song goes as Kɔkɔsakyi, medeɛ memma efie aduane nnyɛ me dɛ efisɛ etuo muo sum na agya bɔfoɔ deɛ ne ho ohu paa. (The partridge says he wouldn’t be enthused or carried away by meal prepared at home because the inside of a gun is dark and the hunter is deceitful). Here, the “inside of a gun is dark” can loosely be interpreted as “one can hardly tell the machinations of a fellow man”. Need I tell you what happened to the stepson when stepmother heard him playing this song? Nah, you don’t need to be told. There’s also a disc jockey who mistakenly played Lucky Dube’s IT’S NOT EASY at his friend’s wedding. Maybe he knew something the groom didn’t. Huh, did I hear you say tooli?

I’m out Ogyam, the night is catching up fast. Lock the door, switch off the lights, hit the sack but let the music play on.

 

HASTA LA VISTA